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European carriers are moving away from handset subsidies, analysts find | GigaOM Tech News

European carriers are moving away from handset subsidies, analysts find | GigaOM Tech News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One by one, the signs point to the decline and perhaps demise of the mobile handset subsidy. Whether it’s Vodafone paying newfound attention to the high-end pay-as-you-go market or regulators threatening to let contract customers walk out in the event of a price hike, there are frequent signs that carriers won’t be subsidizing the smartphones they sell you forever.

 

In the U.S., this is a new thing. It was only in December that T-Mobile USA announced its abandonment of smartphone subsidies, much to the interest of other players such as Verizon, but in Western Europe things have moved on quite a bit further. In fact, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media, almost 30 operators there have already dropped handset subsidies for some or most customers.

 

What’s taking the place of those subsidies? Leasing and financing plans, such as Vodafone’s Red Hot and O2 Germany’s My Handy schemes. According to Informa analyst Francesco Radicati, this makes it easier for operators to cope with the growing popularity of expensive smartphones:

 

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Climate data shows clear signs of warming | Climate News Network

Climate data shows clear signs of warming | Climate News Network | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

However you view the evidence, whatever set of measurements you examine, the picture that emerges is consistent: the Earth is heating up.


The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports: “In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators − greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc − continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet.”


This, NOAA says, is the picture painted by the indicators assessed in a report, State of the Climate in 2013, published online by the American Meteorological Society.


Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center were the lead editors of the report, compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries. It provides a detailed update on data collected by monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea and ice.


“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said the NOAA‘s administrator, Dr Kathryn Sullivan.


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State of Emergency in Siberia's Permafrost Region due to Wildfires | DailyKos.com

State of Emergency in Siberia's Permafrost Region due to Wildfires | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The fires were touched off by thunderstorms that produced no rain. The Siberian Times reports that over 1000 people had to be evacuated from their homes due to fire in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, with its landmass as permafrost and 40% of that area within the arctic circle. States of emergency are also in effect in the Russian Federation regions of Kransnoyarsk and Irkutsk.


"Vyacheslav Popov, head of the republic's Forestry Department, said: 'The area of wildfires doubled. There are 37 active wildfires in the republic right now covering the territory of 76,000 hectares. There is a threat to eight settlements in five areas of Yakutia''


'The biggest number if wildfires are here in Vilyui district', said the the local administration head, Sergey Vinokurov.


'They all started at the same time because of so-called 'dry thunderstorms' which we had last week.


'We had to send helicopters to evacuate people out of the most dangerous areas and bring them to Vilyuisk'.


The town is an administrative capital some 600 kilometres northwest of capital Yakutsk.


As Siberia frazzles in the summer heat, states of emergency were introduced in areas of Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk regions, the Republic of Buryatia, and three districts of Trans-Baikal region, plus one of the Tyva Republic.


'For the duration of the emergency situation, entering forests is strictly forbidden for the population', and punishable by fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($2,800)', locals were warned in Buryatia."


In the Northwest Territories of Canada, dry and warm weather has fueled over 186 fires of which 156 are still burning according to this report from Climate Central.


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The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis | NBC News

The Last Drop: America's Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis | NBC News | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

While a high-pitched wind rattles the windows, and assaults a flapping, fraying American flag in the front yard, Lucas Spinhirne knows he’s staring into an abyss that many in Texas—and across the world—may be forced to contemplate.


The once bounteous quantities of water that flowed under his farmland in the Texas Panhandle are a distant memory–pumped to the last drop. Now there is only one source of water for his wheat and sorghum: the sky above. “We try to catch anything that falls,” Spinhirne says.


The scope of this mounting crisis is difficult to overstate: The High Plains of Texas are swiftly running out of groundwater supplied by one of the world’s largest aquifers – the Ogallala. A study by Texas Tech University has predicted that if groundwater production goes unabated, vast portions of several counties in the southern High Plains will soon have little water left in the aquifer to be of any practical value.


The Ogallala Aquifer spreads across eight states, from Texas to South Dakota, covering 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles. It’s the fountain of life not only for much of the Texas Panhandle, but also for the entire American Breadbasket of the Great Plains, a highly-sophisticated, amazingly-productive agricultural region that literally helps feed the world.


This catastrophic depletion is primarily manmade. By the early eighties, automated center-pivot irrigation devices were in wide use – those familiar spidery-armed wings processing in a circle atop wheeled tripods. This super-sized sprinkler system allowed farmers to water crops more regularly and effectively, which both significantly increased crop yields and precipitously drained the Ogallala.


Compounding the drawdown has been the nature of the Ogallala itself. Created 10 million years ago, this buried fossil water is–in many places—not recharged by precipitation or surface water. When it’s gone, it’s gone for centuries.


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Federal regulators let utilities gouge customers | David Cay Johnston Opinion | Al Jazeera America

Federal regulators let utilities gouge customers | David Cay Johnston Opinion | Al Jazeera America | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The profit margins that federal regulators set for utilities should be decreasing, given the long downward drift of interest rates and the shrinking cost of capital.


Bizarrely, the opposite is happening: Utilities are raking in stunning profits at the expense of consumers.


Now the first in a raft of cases asserting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is letting utilities gouge customers by setting egregiously high rates of return may finally get a hearing.


Since utilities are legal monopolies with no market to discipline their pricing, only the vigilance of regulators stops them from causing irreparable economic harm by stifling growth, draining wealth from customers and distorting investment. Court rulings say FERC commissioners must “guard the consumer against excessive rates.”


The legal standard for setting utility rates is known as “just and reasonable.” Profits and prices are supposed to be balanced so both investors and customers get fair treatment.


FERC commissioners, however, disregard the just and reasonable standard, routinely ignore evidence and act more as agents of utilities than fair-minded regulators.


Who are these commissioners? Acting Chairman Cheryl LeFleur was acting CEO of the National Grid utility company. Philip D. Moeller has been the chief Washington lobbyist for utilities Alliant Energy and Calpine. Commissioner John R. Norris is a utility lawyer. Commissioner Tony Clark is a career regulator whose biography emphasizes that “he oversaw regulatory proceedings that permitted more than $5.5 billion in new investment in North Dakota through expanded wind, coal and oil and gas infrastructure.”


Absent from the commission is anyone who represents the rights of consumers.


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NZ: Yet Another Court Rules That Digital Data Is Not Property | Techdirt.com

NZ: Yet Another Court Rules That Digital Data Is Not Property | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Back in March, we reported on an interesting case where a UK court ruled that information stored electronically is not property. Now senior judges in New Zealand have agreed (found via @superglaze), as the Lexology site explains:


Jonathan Dixon, the Queenstown bouncer who accessed CCTV footage of the England Rugby Captain in a bar during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, appealed his conviction for dishonestly obtaining property on the basis that the digital data did not come under the definition of 'property' in the Crimes Act. The New Zealand Court of Appeal yesterday agreed (but substituted his conviction with one of dishonestly obtaining a benefit).


Lexology goes on to explain:


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FTC takes out “tech support” scammers; $5.1 million in fines, retribution | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com

FTC takes out “tech support” scammers; $5.1 million in fines, retribution | Michael Cooney | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

While a number of these scams still persist, the Federal Trade Commission today said it got a US District court to slap the operators of several international tech support rip-offs to pay more than $5.1 million in fines and retribution on charges they masqueraded as major computer companies, including Dell, Microsoft, McAfee, and Norton, to trick consumers into believing their computers were riddled with malware and then charge them to “fix” the “problems.”


The FTC said that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued default judgments against fourteen corporate defendants and fourteen individual defendants that allegedly operated the tech support scams. The operations were mostly based in India and targeted English-speaking consumers in the United States and several other countries, the FTC stated.


The default judgments permanently ban the defendants from marketing any computer security-related technical support service.  The judgments also ban them from continuing their deceptive tactics and from disclosing, selling or failing to dispose of information they obtained from victims. The cases, which we part of a 2012 FTC crackdown on such tech support scams included:


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Spain: Vodafone Group confirms updated FTTH deal with Orange Espana in wake of ONO purchase | TeleGeography.com

UK-based Vodafone Group has announced the agreement between its Spanish subsidiary and local rival Orange Espana related to the rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology has been updated. The development comes in the wake of Vodafone Group completing its acquisition of Spanish cableco Grupo Corporativo ONO.


As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2013 Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana unveiled plans to invest up to EUR1 billion (USD1.361 billion) on the construction of a joint fibre-optic network.


Under the terms of the agreement, both operators said they would each deploy street-level fibre in complementary geographies, and while the fibre would be owned independently it would share the same technical specifications to ensure compatibility as a single network, with each partner having guaranteed access to the whole infrastructure.


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Singapore: SingTel launches commercial 300Mbps 4G service with Huawei mobile MiFi device | TeleGeography.com

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has announced the launch of a commercial 300Mbps 4G service using Huawei’s E5786 mobile MiFi device, claiming a world first. The telco says the device is compatible with LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks, which can deliver ultra-high data speeds of up to 300Mbps, and will be available in retail outlets and online from 24 July, priced at SGD399 (USD322.2). Customers can however, purchase the device at a discounted rate of SGD168 when buying into any SingTel 24-month mobile broadband plan.


Commenting on the launch, Mr Johan Buse, SingTel’s VP of consumer marketing, said: ‘With multimedia applications consuming increasingly more bandwidth, speed is everything. The launch of the Huawei E5786 enables us to bring the benefits of LTE-Advanced services to Singaporeans before anyone else in the world. At SingTel, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation to provide our customers with the very best that technology has to offer.’


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Microsoft verging on single OS across all devices | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com

Microsoft verging on single OS across all devices | Tim Greene | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Microsoft seems on the brink of announcing a major enhancement to its operating system lines, namely merging them into a single OS that could bring big benefits for corporate users.


The next version of Windows will pull together the company’s three Windows OSes – Windows for PCs and tablets, Windows Phone and Xbox One – to enable apps that span all types of devices and that are available in a single Microsoft store, CEO Satya Nadella told investors and journalists during the company’s Q4 earnings meeting this week.


While this is something he has talked about before, this time he gave it some immediacy. “We look forward to sharing more about our next major wave of Windows enhancements in the coming months,” he says, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the conference call. He didn’t say how many months.


The company already announced support for Universal Apps that can be written to the Windows Runtime architecture, and have the bulk of the code reused for an app that runs on all other Windows devices. Combined with developer support to write such apps and buying into Microsoft cloud services like Office 365, OneDrive for Business and Azure could give businesses new apps that workers can access and sync from anywhere so long as they have Internet connections.


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New England: Proposed transmission projects aim to tap Canadian hydroelectricity | The Boston Globe

New England: Proposed transmission projects aim to tap Canadian hydroelectricity | The Boston Globe | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Across the Canadian border, massive dams generate a seeminglyendless supply of hydroelectricity — a source of power that could help New England replace its closing coal and nuclear plants while cutting greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. But there’s a big problem: getting it here.


At least five major transmission projects — some estimated to cost more than $1 billion to build — have been proposed to connect New England to this plentiful power source to the north. The projects, however, are not only spurring opposition in the communities where the lines would cross but also a broader debate about the region’s energy policy and the role hydroelectricity should play.


That debate flared again last week as New England governors met with the leaders of eastern Canadian provinces in New Hampshire to discuss energy and economic issues. Opponents of a hydro transmission project that would cross wilderness areas in New Hampshire, the so-called Northern Pass, staged protests; so did opponents of a proposed pipeline to transport natural gas from shale fields in Pennsylvania and other nearby states across Massachusetts.


These protests underscored the challenges policy makers face as they try to balance growing demand for energy against increased urgency to slow the pace of climate change, which scientists attribute to the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. While solar, wind, and other renewables are certain to play larger roles in the region’s energy mix, they remain intermittent power sources without the scale to easily replace the more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity, or enough to power 4 million homes, that will be lost over the next few years with the shutdown or planned shutdown of three coal-fired plants in Massachusetts, a nuclear plant in Vermont, and other facilities in New England.


With ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, forecasting potential shortages by 2017, policy makers are looking to Canadian hydro — and so are utilities hoping to profit by transporting the power south. The proposed transmission projects include:


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German Government Tries To Censor Publication Of Its List Of Censored Websites | Techdirt.com

German Government Tries To Censor Publication Of Its List Of Censored Websites | Techdirt.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A few weeks ago, an anonymous internet user was able to acquire and subsequently extract a website blacklist used by Germany's Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Children (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien [BPjM]). This un-hashed list was posted to the user's Neocities blog, along with some analysis of the blacklist's contents and a rundown on the minimal protective efforts used for the list.

The actual blacklist is much more extensive than what's published here. In fact, as is noted in the post, a majority of the list is publicly viewable.


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India moves into the post-iPhone era | NetworkWorld.com

India moves into the post-iPhone era | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Xiaomi’s flagship Mi3 smartphone went on sale today on Flipkart, India’s online megastore and largest ecommerce company, beating Google’s sub-$100 Android One to the punch as its Indian supply chain partners get ready to scale. The push into India is part of Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun’s drive to deliver a fivefold boost in sales, up to 100 million units next year.


Flipkart announced in a press release that Xiaomi’s “Mi3 stock was sold out in 38 minutes and 50 seconds.”


A glance at the smartphone pricing chart of India tells the story. Xiaomi (pronounced show me) has a reputation for creating high-quality smartphone designs that sell for $250 and below, competing with 80% of the devices sold in India. So does Google’s Android One, which will be sold in India by indigenous manufacturers Micromax, Karbonn, Spice, Celkon and Intex.


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Google rival slams EU Commission over antitrust settlement proposals | ComputerWorld.com

Google rival slams EU Commission over antitrust settlement proposals | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

One of the complainants in an antitrust case against Google has slammed the European Commission for apparently adopting wholesale Google's proposal to settle the case, while giving complainants no fair chance to express their views on the settlement. Meanwhile, the Commission is considering revising the terms of the settlement, according to media reports.


Lead complainant Foundem sent an open letter to competition European Commissioner JoaquAn Almunia on Wednesday, urging him to read a July 11 response the company made to the Commission's plan to adopt Google's settlement proposal in the suit,. That letter concerned Google's treatment in search results of specialized search services that rivalled its own products, among other matters.


The Commission sent complainants a letter in June outlining its reasons for accepting Google's proposals, which Foundem said was its first opportunity to see and respond to the Commission's reasoning. And according to Foundem's open letter on Wednesday, there are many glaring errors, omissions, and inconsistencies in that reasoning.


"Whatever sequence of events led you to accept Google's misleading arguments without displaying any of the healthy scepticism that would normally be applied to 'evidence' from a defendant in a competition case, we trust that the attached comprehensive rebuttal of these arguments will persuade you to think again and change course," Foundem's founders Adam and Shivaun Raff said in the letter sent to Almunia.


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ESB and Vodafone to invest €450 million in 100% fibre broadband network across Ireland | TelDaC.com

ESB and Vodafone to invest €450 million in 100% fibre broadband network across Ireland | TelDaC.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

ESB and Vodafone today signed an innovative joint venture agreement to invest €450 million in building a 100% fibre-to-the-building  broadband network offering speeds from 200 Mbps to 1000 Mbps, propelling Ireland into the ranks of the world's fastest broadband countries . Ireland will also become the first country in Europe to utilise existing electricity infrastructure on a nationwide basis to deploy fibre directly into homes and businesses, initially reaching 500,000 premises in 50 towns. The fibre will be deployed on ESB's existing overhead and underground infrastructure, ensuring a fast and cost efficient roll-out to every county in Ireland and reversing the digital divide between the capital and regional towns.

With recent data from ComReg, the Irish telecoms regulator, showing that 43% of fixed broadband customers in Ireland receive speeds of 10 Mbps  or less, direct access to 100% fibre broadband of up to one gigabit per second will transform the internet experience of small and medium businesses (SME), remote workers and consumers. This will help regional areas to compete more effectively for investment and jobs, and SMEs to work more efficiently, enhance their online presence and reach new markets and customers. Consumers will enjoy innovations ranging from home entertainment to e-health and virtual education. Home working will also become a real option for more people, helping Ireland to develop its smart economy. With global internet traffic set to triple in the next five years , the speed and reliability delivered by 100% fibre broadband will ensure Irish customers can lead the digital lives they want.

Subject to European Commission approval, the 50:50 joint venture will begin rolling-out the new network across Ireland in the coming months, with the first customers able to avail of 100% fibre broadband from the start of 2015. The initial phase of the project is expected to be fully rolled-out by the end of 2018, with scope for a second phase under the joint venture.

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Shocking drought data for Colorado River Basin from NASA | DailyKos.com

Shocking drought data for Colorado River Basin from NASA | DailyKos.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

A new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine, scientists finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.


This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, the basin has been suffering from prolonged, severe drought since 2000 and has experienced the driest 14-year period in the last hundred years.


Scientists were shocked at the results of their latest study:


"We don't know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don't know when we're going to run out," said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the University of California, Irvine, and the study's lead author. "This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking."


If you live in the western and southwestern part of the United States, it's even worse:


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US State Department computer crash slows visa, passport applications worldwide | NetworkWorld.com

US State Department computer crash slows visa, passport applications worldwide | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The U.S. State Department’s main computer system for processing passport and visa applications crashed earlier this week leading to global delays for travel documents.


The problems first surfaced after “routine maintenance” on the consular database, said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, during a televised briefing Thursday. Harf said the system has been brought back online, but it’s still not back to full capacity.


“We are working urgently to correct the problem and expect our system to be fully operational soon,” she said.


Because the problems occurred after maintenance work, Harf said the U.S. government doesn’t believe the problems are the result of any malicious action, although she acknowledged the department hasn’t identified the root cause of the problem.


“This is worldwide, it’s not specific to any particular country,” she said.


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UK Supermarket To Power Itself With Food Waste | HuffPost.com

UK Supermarket To Power Itself With Food Waste | HuffPost.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Where does all the leftover food go when the grocery store closes at the end of the day? Maybe it's repurposed somehow or thrown out, but what if it could help a supermarket become energy independent? A Sainsbury's supermarket in the United Kingdom will soon power itself with leftover food waste and disconnect from the National Grid.


Sainsbury's is partnering with Biffa, one of the U.K.'s largest waste management companies, to make this possible. Sainsbury's trucks its food waste from all over the U.K. to Biffa's plant in Staffordshire. Biffa then converts it into biogas, and this biogas is then burned to meet the energy needs of a location in the town of Cannock.


"Sainsbury's sends absolutely no waste to landfill and we’re always looking for new ways to reuse and recycle," said Sainsbury's' head of sustainability Paul Crewe in a press release. "We’re delighted to be the first business ever to make use of this linkup technology, allowing our Cannock store to be powered entirely by our food waste."


Not all of Sainsbury's' food becomes biogas. To ensure no waste goes to landfills, Sainsbury's also donates food that's safe to eat to its charitable partners to feed the underprivileged, or to the Knowley safari park to feed the animals.


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Uphill task for Ultra HD TVs | BroadbandTVNews.com

Uphill task for Ultra HD TVs | BroadbandTVNews.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

High pricing is preventing Ultra HD televisions (UHD TVs) from securing a meaningful share of the overall flat-panel TV market through the world.


According to a report entitled TV Systems Databases: Monthly TV Shipments – June 2014 by IHS Technology, among the top 13 brands for liquid-crystal-display televisions (LCDTV) worldwide, the share of UHD TV shipments reached 5% in May, up from 4% in April, 3% in March and 2% in February.


But while UHD TV share has expanded by at least 1 percentage point for the last three months, growth hasn’t increased much since September last year, when the market was already at the 2% level.


The top 13 brands account for more than 75% of total LCD TV shipments, and also represent over 90% of overall UHD LCD TV shipments.


UHD TV shipments this year are projected to grow to 14.5 million units, up from just 2.0 million in 2013, as global brands deploy aggressive marketing efforts and roll out new models.


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Student develops filter for clean water around the world | PHYS.org

Student develops filter for clean water around the world | PHYS.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it
Roughly 780 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. ETH student Jeremy Nussbaumer set himself the goal of making a contribution to solving this problem. Working with researchers from a group led by Wendelin Stark, head of the Functional Materials Laboratory, the 23-year-old spent a year researching a membrane filter and developing a prototype.

"What makes our DrinkPure filter unique is that you can screw it on to virtually any plastic bottle. It doesn't require a pump or a reservoir, so it's very easy to use," explains the student from the canton of Aargau. "You simply screw the filter onto a bottle containing polluted water, then you can put it straight in your mouth and take a drink." Weighing less than 100 grams, DrinkPure is considerably lighter than most other filters, and the flow pressure is so high that you can purify as much as a litre of water in a minute just by squeezing the bottle with your hand. Another benefit is that the unit is less expensive and easier to manufacture than most conventional filters. These qualities, says Nussbaumer, make the filter ideal for development aid projects.


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France: Orange deploys LTE-A in Strasbourg and Toulouse | TeleGeography.com

Orange France has kick started the deployment of its Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) network in selected locations.


According to the operator’s website, as of this month, residents of Strasbourg and Toulouse could benefit from speeds of up to 223Mbps, if they are in possession of a compatible device.


Although the cellco does not advertise any handsets that could support the network at the present time, local source Frandroid claims that the operator is planning to market a modem/router device, capable of delivering the advertised speeds, ‘during the summer’.


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Lekki Wi-Fi network in Nigeria powered by Ubiquiti | MuniWireless.com

A large Wi-Fi network has been deployed in Lekki, Nigeria by Tizeti Network, a wireless ISP whose goal is to create a “carrier Wi-Fi” network in Nigeria. The Lekki Wi-Fi network covers 5000 homes and an area of 9 square kilometres of Lekki Phase 1, an expensive gated community on Lekki Lagoon, east of Lagos. Tizeti uses the latest Ubiquiti NanoBeam base stations and UniFi video cameras; they use the fiber network of MainOne, a large telecoms company that serves West Africa.


Each Lekki 1 subscriber gets two SSIDs, one for his own use and the other for mobile or roaming customers. This means that Tizeti subscribers can access Wi-Fi service anywhere that Tizeti has a network.


Tizeti hopes to sell wholesale access to its networks around Lagos (which include Dolphin Estate and French Colony). At present, subscribers pay US$50 per month without a data cap. The absence of a data cap gives Tizeti is a significant advantage over its competitors. Subscribers can expect average speeds of 3.5 Mbps downstream and upstream. Tizeti also provides free Wi-Fi to schools in the Lekki area.

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World Broadcasting Unions unite against TV spectrum release | Advanced-Television.com

The World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) – the coordinating body for broadcasting unions who represent broadcaster networks across the globe – has released an official joint position on radio spectrum allocation, stating their support to maintain the allocation of UHF frequencies (470 to 694 MHz) currently used for terrestrial TV broadcasting.


The WBU says that broadcasters from all over the world are resolved about the importance of the UHF band because it provides the only set of air waves which are globally available for digital terrestrial broadcasting. “Long-term certainty about the availability of the UHF band is also necessary to ensure continued investment and innovation by broadcasters. Whether or not 4K television will be available to the general public will, for example, heavily depend on the sufficient availability of radio spectrum for television broadcasting,” it advises.


The WBU statement also outlines support for the preservation of the C-band frequencies (3.7 to 4.2 GHz), which is used for fixed satellite services essential to broadcasters’ operations around the world.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is one of eight broadcasting unions that make up the WBU. Regional differences on the use of spectrum can make agreeing on a common position difficult, but the unions are united in this statement in the run up to the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) World Radio Conference in 2015.


The WBU’s Technical Committee has already expressed concerns that the release of more TV broadcasting spectrum to mobile operators will cause serious problems for many broadcasters, limiting both the content and quality of transmission. Additionally, there could be unwanted social and economic consequences if free-to-air broadcasting becomes severely limited.


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Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com

Apple “inadvertently admitted” to iOS backdoor: forensics expert | John Cox | NetworkWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

Apple has “inadvertently admitted” to creating a “backdoor” in iOS, according to a new post by a forensics scientist, iOS author and former hacker, who this week created a stir when he posted a presentation laying out his case.


Apple has created “several services and mechanisms” that let Apple -- and, potentially, government agencies or malicious third parties -- extract lots of personal data from iOS devices, says Jonathan Zdziarski. There is, he says, no way to shut off this data leakage and there is no explicit consent granted by endusers.


He made his case in a talk, "Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices,” [available in PDF] at the annual HOPE X hackers conference last week in New York City. The talk was based on a paper published in the March issue of “Digital Investigation,” which can be ordered online.


Essentially, Zdziarski says that Apple over time has deliberately added several “undocumented high-value forensic services” in iOS, along with “suspicious design omissions…that make collection easier.” The result is these services can copy a wide range of a user's personal data, and bypass Apple's backup encryption. That gives Apple, and potentially government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, or just bad people intent on exploiting these service, the ability to extract personal data without the user knowing this is happening.


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Under their own power: District energy systems enable self-reliant, resilient communities | DistrictEnergy.org

Under their own power: District energy systems enable self-reliant, resilient communities | DistrictEnergy.org | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The world is in a period of growing energy insecurity, and municipal and business leaders are focusing attention on improving the energy resiliency of their towns and cities.


Compact communities that integrate a diversity of land uses, densities, and urban forms enhance the opportunity for district energy. Interestingly, these characteristics are also foundations of great planning, providing the density to support sound public transit investments and reduce suburban sprawl. A diverse and compact community provides residential, civic, retail, cultural, and entertainment facilities, all within easy, walkable distances.


Together, with community-based energy systems like a district energy network, municipalities can create high-quality and attractive places to live and work. Energy can be a significant driver for the health and welfare of residents, the growth of business, and the energy stability for communities of all sizes.


The growing cost of traditional energy arrangements, the risk of increasingly volatile and frequent weather events, and the need to incorporate a variety of fuel sources are focusing attention onto local energy opportunities. Cities are continually competing in a globalized economic arena for high-quality employers and the ability to attract and retain intellectual capital. Recent extreme weather events in Calgary and Toronto have highlighted the costs associated with business interruption, and employers are seeking more reliable and resilient energy systems to hedge against these risks.


District energy consists of a network of underground pipes carrying hot water, steam, or chilled water from a central plant to the buildings using the service. Many established district heating projects in Canada use steam as the carrying medium, while new developments tend to use hot water. There are pros and cons to each approach, which are typically determined by local conditions. The heat supplied to buildings can be employed for space heating or domestic hot water, or converted to chilled water for cooling.


District energy networks offer a complementary infrastructure to other energy networks. They can utilize a variety of fuel sources, both fossil and renewable, such as natural gas, oil, biomass, geothermal, large-scale solar thermal, and waste-to-energy. In many cases, this can be leveraged to keep energy dollars in the local community.


These networks are also able to capture and distribute surplus heat from industrial processes and power generation that would otherwise be wasted. Heat networks aggregate the thermal demand of multiple buildings to a scale that enables the use of technologies with higher efficiencies, or ones that may not be economical to deploy at the individual building level, such as biomass, waste-to-energy, or combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration.


While natural gas has been, and is likely to remain, the preferred fuel choice in Canadian urban areas due to increased availability and favorable emissions profiles, many CHP plants can operate on a variety of renewable fuels, such as municipal waste, landfill gas, and digester gas. For rural communities, the local availability of bio-derived fuels has made these fuels the principal choice.


A major part of the cost of a district energy system is the distribution system and the pipes needed to carry the thermal energy. The shorter the distance energy has to travel, the lower the cost. The more densely packed the buildings, and the greater the demand for heating or cooling, the more efficient and viable the network is likely to be.


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US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com

US needs to restore trust following NSA revelations, tech groups say | ComputerWorld.com | @The Convergence of ICT & Distributed Renewable Energy | Scoop.it

The U.S government can take action to slow the calls in other countries to abandon U.S. tech vendors following revelations about widespread National Security Agency surveillance, some tech representatives said Friday.


Decisions by other governments to move their residents' data away from the U.S. are hurting tech vendors, but Congress can take steps to "rebuild the trust" in the U.S. as a responsible Internet leader, said Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.


Still, other governments will continue to try to use the NSA revelations by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to their advantage, said panelists at a Congressional Internet Caucus discussion on the effect of NSA surveillance on U.S. businesses.


"What we have here is an inflection point -- a moment for other countries, other companies, to close the gap and to use this as an opportunity to really catch up to the IT industry in the U.S.," added Chris Hopfensperger, policy director with software trade group BSA.


BSA is hearing "anecdotal" evidence of foreign governments turning away U.S. tech vendors because of NSA surveillance, Hopfensperger said. He noted news reports last month of the German government dropping a contract with Verizon Communications because of spying.


Hopfensperger called on U.S. policymakers to actively address worldwide concerns about NSA surveillance, instead of waiting to see what the impact on the U.S. tech industry will be. "There's a very large focus on what is the dollar impact on this," he said. "The problem with looking at the numbers of what has happened is, by the time you have a real dollar amount, that business is lost, and it's not coming back to the U.S."


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